Stream Team : Reviews Week of May 20
Steve Patterson’s Greatest Bits, Volume 1
If a comedian performs a set online, in a space void of applause, are they still funny? In the case of Steve Patterson, the answer is a resounding yes. The host of CBC’s The Debaters tested the waters of online stand-up for Side Door on May 20 and—despite some initial nerves and few minor technical difficulties—kept the audience of 160 engaged and entertained throughout his hour long performance. Packaged as a Greatest Bits, the comic performed some of his most popular material, taking the occasional break to engage in some friendly Q&A with his fans via Zoom chat. Patterson proved that good comedic timing and strong storytelling translates to laughs in an online format, and set the bar high for future Side Door comedians. —Chuck Teed
With a backdrop that included blue lights, green plants, and a clothing rack, Gentleman Reg's hour-long performance was the very definition of intimate. The Toronto-based songwriter, who also performs as Regina Gently, enchanted the online audience with stripped down versions of his most-loved songs, including “Navy Brown,” “Hit The Heart,” and “Give Me A Chance To Fall.” With no effects, save a loop pedal for his guitar, Reg was at his best when his songs veered in a mellow, dark direction, but he managed to keep the tone light with his witty banter and charming presence. —CT
Veda Hille haunts The Cultch - All Request Hour
Seated at the Baldwin piano in The Cultch’s Historic Theatre in East Vancouver, musician/composer Veda Hille has just serenaded a few lucky audience members with a cover of “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think).” It’s the audience members’ birthdays. With a wink, Hille addresses one of the many cameras set up to capture each angle of her performance: “That’s what you get when you ask me for a birthday shout-out—a reminder of death!” And the audience loves it.
Melancholy and minor chords featured heavily in the rest of Hille’s largely all-request setlist, along with tears, some of them the artist’s—“no apologies; no excuses”—yet the performance was nothing short of a raucous celebration. It’s difficult to describe just how huge her voice is, as precise as it is voluminous.
Fans dug deep into Hille’s extensive catalogue: Selecting songs from the Jar of Democracy—if a song had been requested more than once—or from the Wheel of Fortune—a crafty feat of coloured paper and a spinning arrow—Hille played a vast selection of favourites, including “And Birds,” music from Onegin, “Lover Hater”, “300 Stuffed Penguins,” “The Williamsburg Bridge,” and the most-requested, “Noah’s Ark,” from Here is a Picture (Songs for E Carr). Blink-and-you-would-have-missed-it highlight: A close-up of the keys during a performance of “Instructions” so thunderous we could see the piano shaking. —Julie Wilson
Good Lovelies: Forest Tour
In a throwback to their first-ever show, Toronto’s Good Lovelies performed their heartwarming catalogue in a round. As Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore swapped songs and stories, their powerful voices made up for the missing trademark harmonies fans have come to love. Playing a setlist complied of requests from the 500-plus attendees, each musician performed while the others danced and smiled. Between songs, special guests told stories about the trio’s impact on their lives, creating a smile-giving, heart-warming vibe. The trio’s sound might make them Shapeshifters as their 2018 album title suggests, but the sweet-as-cinnamon feel sticks around, no matter what. —Oliver Crook